Twelve Thirty

Movies
2 out of 5 stars
Twelve Thirty

Smart, awkward and disarmingly eager, Jeff (Groff) works his wavy-haired charms to bed longtime crush Mel (Reiners). Younger but more experienced, she loses interest after flush-faced flirtations have passed, sending Jeff on an odyssey of ill-advised trysts with her sensitive older sister (Gummer) and mom (Young)---a stay-at-home furrier who still enjoys sex with her gay ex-husband (Reed Birney).

Like the work of kindred indie spirit Henry Jaglom (Queen of the Lot), Lipsky's supremely talkative dramedies are tough to read---they can be both microscopically perceptive about people yet overdetermined in their characterizations. His latest chatathon dissection of sex, family and love has an intriguing structure---extended dialogue scenes are organized into a bed-hopping triptych---yet the movie too neatly packages the messy circumstances at hand. Stylistic or not, stilted diction is still an albatross---when was the last time a sentence like, "My mom's a peach," was acceptable human speech?---though the fine ensemble gamely tries to pull it off. Groff keeps the sweet-to-creepy scales balanced, while Young's tart delivery and frank, self-effacing sexiness stands out. But despite a few moments of surprising insight, Twelve Thirty comes off as more mechanistic than organic; it's composed rather than truly lived.

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By: Eric Hynes

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